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C. The Case of Billy Elliot: The Challenge of Pinning Down Causes

Read through the following account as a class, then answer the questions which follow.

The Case of Billy Elliot

Click on a Chapter heading to read his tragic story...


Questions: The Inquest into Billy's Death

1. What three factors would you pick out as being the most important causes of the tragedy?

2. What one further question could you ask to deepen your understanding about the tragedy?

3. Here are three verdicts on the death of Billy Elliot. Take a class vote on which verdict you each find most convincing. Each person has two votes: raise both hands for your top choice; one had for your second choice. Record the totals for each verdict in column [c].

[Although this example may seem a bit silly, you should bear in mind that every inquest and inquiry has to pass a judgement on causation, which determines where responsibility ultimately lies, which has massive implications for the individuals and authorities involved]

A

B

C

"Death by Free Will".

Billy's death was a freak accident that has no meaningful cause

 

"Death by Marxist Dialectic".

Billy was a sad victim of economic forces

 

"Death by Determinism".

Billy was the victim of an inevitable chain of circumstance traceable right back to climate and geography

 

4. Discussion Point - Are any other verdicts possible in this case (e.g. death by feminism...)?

 

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1998-2021 Russel Tarr, ActiveHistory.co.uk Limited (Reg. 6111680)

High Park Lodge, Edstaston Wem, Shropshire, England, SY4 5RD. Telephone/Fax: 01939 233909

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